to the state. There was no department with which it could
not interfere. In the fifteenth century we find the ten, or
this council and the "junta/' * corresponding with ambassa-
dors and consuls, on matters of diplomacy, and in fact the
diplomacy seems in the sixteenth century to be in their hands.
Thus we find the vote in this council together with the junta
for the affairs of Rome, that there be forthwith elected a no-
bleman to go to the king of England, instead of Scr. Hicroni-
mo Guistiniano, who has refused. They fix his salary, and say
that he need give no account's to the signoria, and may keep,
while in England, five servants and as many horses. They
then elect the ambassador, and give him his instructions.
Perhaps it was only in regard to secret envoys that they were
entrusted with so high a power. (R. Brown, Calendar, i., p.
336.) But we find the collegio also holding communications
with Venetian ambassadors (p. 340), and the senate with the
doge doing the same thing (pp. 341, 343, 345, of the same
work). A most singular concurrence of powers !
In 1539, whether because the council of ten had so much
business on its hands or was not secret enough, a committee
of three was elected from that body, known as the three in-
quisitors of state. With these the secret police and adminis-
tration reached its height.
We may close our accpunt of the constitution of Venice at
this point, although we have to pass over in silence the
administration of the provinces in the days when the power
of the republic in the East was at its height, with other impor-
tant points. What has been said is enough to show the
indigenous character of the Venetian government, and its
steady progress towards a rigorous aristocracy, in fact to-
wards the extinction of real freedom. Here there was little
influence from thqse causes which made mediaeval Italy in other
parts what it was ; there was no Frank power modifying an
* In 1509 it is resolved that a junta of fifteen, " five at a time, as
usual/' be elected. « This junta is to attend to all matters concern-
ing the pope and the Roman court." Rawclon Brown, Calendar, under
that year. . 7